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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 June, 2004, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Beckham hits back
By Phil McNulty
Our man with England

David Beckham displays an unusual scowl
England captain David Beckham insists personal issues and commercial activities did not affect his performances in Euro 2004.

Beckham came under fire for lacklustre displays following England's quarter-final exit to hosts Portugal.

But he said: "People might think they do, but commercial issues do not affect my football.

"I don't do as much as people think, I probably do one or two things a month and that's it."

The England captain added: "Situations always affect you. To have pressure day in day out, whether it is good or bad, it comes to a point where you have to say enough is enough.

"But commercial issues do not affect my football. People might think they do, but no.

Once I'm on that football pitch I blank everything out
David Beckham

"Yes, there are adverts out there and photographs of me but people sometimes stick pictures of me on magazines week in and week out and say 'exclusive' and people think I've done an exclusive.

"I've come to terms with that's the way my life is and I will overcome this.

"But my family are number one, my football is number two and that's the way it will always be."

Beckham has had to survive allegations about his personal life in the run up to the tournament.

But he said: "Unfortunately that is my life. It's full of four and five cars following me every day everywhere I go, to the park with my children.

"But when I'm on that football pitch nothing comes into that scene.

"The intrusion and the invasion into my life is tough because I've got children and I want them to enjoy their lives but people will just say 'why's he complaining?'.

"I'm not complaining but of course it's tough. It's tough on any family.

David Beckham stars in an advertisement
Beckham has plenty of commercial commitments

"I think it's reached an intolerable level a few times this year because the move to Spain is a new environment, people are not used to me there.

"In Manchester I was able to go to the Trafford Centre and walk around with my family.

"That's not possible in Spain. I can't go out of my front door and people know that."

Beckham said: "Once I'm on that football pitch I blank everything out.

"When you have tough times on a football pitch occasionally you think about what's going on but I never ever want to regret anything and I never will.

"It has been tough this season on and off the pitch because of certain situations but I'm a strong enough person.

"I've got to be strong enough because I'm a father, I've got to look after two little boys and look after a wife.

"When I'm down they pick me up, and when they're down I pick them up.

If they want to write me off I'll just keep coming back and back until I've won
David Beckham

"I'm strong enough."

Beckham was also defiant about criticism of his form and role as captain, as well as his apparent lack of match fitness.

He said: "I'm not prepared to lie down and take criticism.

"I will take criticism but at the end of the day I will fight back and people don't realise how strong I am as a person.

"If they want to write me off I'll just keep coming back and back until I've won."

He admitted: "I don't think we've done as much conditioning work at Madrid as we used to at Manchester United but that's the way it is in the Spanish league.

"I didn't feel as fit in the second-half of the season as I did in the first-half and maybe that's the way the Spanish game is.

"Maybe it has spilled over into Euro 2004, but I'm not going to make excuses.

"I want to carry on being a Real Madrid player and I want to win things there and that's what I'm looking forward to doing this season."





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